I am a Dungeon Master. Yes, I capitalize Dungeon Master because in the glory days of old we were like unto gods! Now, in the post-3rd edition world of templates and grids, the rules of the game are more clear and give a kind of edge to the players, who for the first time in gaming history can successfully argue rules with the DM. We are no longer all-powerful Interpreters of All and something of our former glory has faded. But I still remember a day when tributes of pizza and soda were the norm, presented to us with trembling hands and averted eyes, and so I still capitalize Dungeon Master.
My present D&D campaign has been running continuously since March of 2008, a DM and six players who have been sharing and developing and fostering a single, rich storyline. Back in the aforementioned day, such long-running campaigns were far more common. Today they are rarer than teenagers without cellphones.
But lately I’ve been feeling burned out. As a full-time, non-traditional age college student, I get tired a lot. And my creativity for the game has been waning, a fact that I firmly believe my beloved players, all of whom are far too polite to say so, have noticed. So I decided to take a break. We put my game on a 12-week hiatus while one of the other players has picked up the mantle of dungeon master (he doesn’t get capital letters because he never played D&D prior to 3rd edition) to run a mini-campaign. Each week I show up to the table with my character, eager to see what surprises Cip has cooked up for us, and all of a sudden D&D is fun again! I’ve been playing the game for longer than two of the players at the table have been alive, so it’s difficult to surprise and please me at the table. Cip has done both things, so I have to give him props.
And this morning, something has happened that hasn’t happened in a while. I’m actually in the mood — even eager — to work on my campaign. Ah, my poor players, they have no idea what they’re in for!